Upper Cambodian Mekong River System, a World’s Last Remaining Habitat for Wild Population of Striped Catfish

The upper Cambodian Mekong River system is likely one of the world’s last remaining habitats for the wild population of the striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypothalamus), underlined the Wonder of the Mekong project.

The striped catfish is a flagship catfish species in the Mekong River and supports a commercially important fishery, the source added.

Although the striped catfish has been assessed as “Endangered” by the IUCN Red List, its population status in the Cambodian Mekong system is not well understood, it pointed out.

According to the Wonders of the Mekong project, a recent study supported by project recently documented a decline in the abundance and size of the striped catfish by analysing information from long-term fish catch and larval monitoring in the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers in Cambodia over the last two decades.

The annual total catch decreased from 236,952 kg during the 2000-2001 fishing season to 7,293 kg during the 2017-2018 fishing season. In addition, mean body length decreased from 31 cm in 2001 to 13 cm in 2019. Striped catfish larval abundance also declined over this period, and flooding was found to be related to striped catfish abundance.

This study underscores that effective fisheries management and conservation actions are needed to maintain migratory corridors, spawning grounds, water flow, and fish larvae drift in the Mekong River, to conserve the wild striped catfish population in the Lower Mekong Basin.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press